Veteran: Brandice Henderson-Daniel
Brandice Henderson-Daniel is a Veteran who has managed to find her niche in the competitive fashion industry as CEO and Founder of her company Harlem’s Fashion Row.
Harlem’s Fashion Row (HFR) provides a platform for designers through events that connect them with consumers, media and potential exposure. HFR partners with designers to create capsule collections and also invests in the individual designers represented by the company.
The idea of HFR started in 2007 when Brandice attended a fashion show in Brooklyn and she decided she wanted to produce one in Harlem. There was no initial business strategy, just an idea. “You just start. Start somewhere,” she says when people ask how to get started in the business. And start she did. After many rejections from boutique owners she eventually found four that were willing to participate in her show and she set an August date, three months after she got her original idea. To this day she says if she comes up with an idea and is really in love with it, it can’t wait, she wants to execute it as soon as possible.
When planning her first fashion show she knew it was a big deal, she kept thinking, “I don’t understand it but I know it’s bigger than me.” Not until 2009 did she even think of quitting her job in corporate America, which was a position in the fashion industry. She had written a book and wanted to focus on the book and HFR. In 2009, when she thought she was ready to resign her boss wouldn’t let her—which was good because Brandice realized she wasn’t ready financially or mentally for it—she instead took six weeks off and got a less demanding position at her company. In the beginning of 2011 Brandice knew she had to leave her job—not that she wanted to—but had to. Her work schedule was unpredictable, she could be out of the country unexpectedly for days, and she couldn’t leave HFR unattended for long periods of time. In May 2011 Brandice quit her job, although she wasn’t completely ready, that year she ended up producing her biggest fashion show ever and getting her largest sponsor to date. Since then Brandice has worked with over 30 designers, some of which include LaQuan Smith, Kimberly Goldson and Ufuoma Ekpecham.
As an entrepreneur Brandice faces the same challenges others do, such as, how to schedule your day for productivity, how to financially support yourself and your business and how to secure sponsorships. Her advice for other entrepreneurs is to ask yourself crucial questions. Is there a need? Who are your customers? Is there a niche? Are you providing a solution? And most importantly she says, “Does this keep you up at night? Do you always talk about it? You have to be able to say yes, this what I want to do. You have to be obsessive about it. If you are not passionate it is very difficult for you to stick it out—you have to make it through those quitting moments.” Those questions and passion have led and continue to lead Brandice to entrepreneurial success. She Dares.